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Democrat Chris Nanos was elected to a four-year term as Pima County Sheriff in November 2020, ousting Republican Mark Napier in a tight race.

He is responsible for a multi-million dollar budget and a department composed of nearly 1,500 employees complemented by more than 400 volunteers who provide support.

  • A crime occurs every 7 minutes (on average) in Pima County.
  • The rate of violent crime (number of crimes) in Pima County is 5.23 per 1,000 residents during a  year.

What will the Sheriff do about it?


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  • New Tucson Police Chief Chad Kasmar’s priorities include more traffic enforcement. As of Dec. 20, Tucson had recorded 83 traffic fatalities and 94 homicides this year. Will Sheriff Nanos follow suit?
  • In December 2020,  the Sheriff said he supported background checks at the Pima Gun Show and opposed letting prohibited buyers get guns at the gun show. The current “gun show loophole” allows private sellers to sell guns to prohibited buyers (felons, domestic abusers, etc.) without any I.D. or background check.
  • Recently, he averted the mass staff firing of unvaccinated employees at the Pima County jail. When the Pima County Supervisors passed a vaccine mandate for all employees, 158 corrections officers — about 40% of the staff — had not been vaccinated and were facing termination. He issued a blistering statement on December 13, imploring his officers to get vaccinated. On January 3, 2020, Nanos terminated 22 Sheriff’s officers who refused to get the Covid vaccination.
  • Sheriff Chris Nanos and County Attorney Laura Conover want to do away with the county jail’s cash bond system because they say it is unfair to hundreds of people who are being held on low-level nonviolent offenses. The cash bond system ensures people come back for trial hearings, a problem Nanos says can now be controlled by technology like ankle monitors. “It costs $127 per day, per inmate. I’ve got 1,649 inmates in there today. If I put a monitor on them it’s $15 a day,” said Nanos.

Throughout his career as Sheriff, Nanos has emphasized criminal investigations, particularly violent crimes, sex crimes, and narcotics interdiction. As the chief law enforcement officer in Pima County, Chris Nanos:

  • Is responsible for preserving the peace in all the unincorporated areas of the county.
  • Is responsible for the custody of the county jail and care of prisoners
  • Serves superior court orders and warrants throughout the county.
  • Collects of delinquent taxes
  • Conducts or coordinates search and rescue operations involving the life or health of any person.
  • Coordinates county law enforcement efforts with those cities and towns located within the county boundaries.

His overall tenure with the Sheriff’s department is 32 years. He was appointed Sheriff from August 2015—2016 and was Chief Deputy from 2014 to August 2015.

Sheriff Chris Nanos was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. Before becoming a law enforcement officer he attended the University of Texas – El Paso, majoring in Public Administration/Criminal Justice.  He began his career in law enforcement in 1976 with the El Paso Police Department.  He joined the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in 1984 as a corrections officer and was promoted to deputy the following year.

The Sheriff’s Department will be equipped with 800 body-worn cameras after the Board of Supervisors approved a $26.6 million contract to fund the devices.  Sheriff Chris Nanos hopes to have the cameras on deputies by January 1, 2022.

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